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“From the Works of John Leguizamo East Coast to East Los”: Play Critique

The play From the works of John Leguizamo East Coast to East Los was written by Ramiro Segovia and streamed online via the East Los Angeles College Theatre’s website on May 21, 2021. The director teaches acting disciplines in the college, and the location of the performance is ELAC’s stages, and the drama is amateur. Before watching, I expected an eccentric play based on John Leguizamo’s famous one-person shows. Within the first ten minutes, I thought that I was at a solo show, yet the actor and the location changed, and then other characters joined the play. That turnout exceeded my expectations, and I enjoyed the personal stories shared as monologues in various settings.

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From the works of John Leguizamo made me think of our perception of Latino people, their culture, and the challenges they face as immigrants in huge cities like New York. Although many jokes were rather dark and contained various biases about relationships between men and women that people are ashamed to admit, I laughed. The play might have left me cold as the subject matter does not match my life’s values, however, I was interested in how people of other cultures live among us. Besides, people having romances to get a Green Card caused an emotional response as it is unfair to treat love that way.

The play’s overall theme is to reveal Latino immigrants’ lives in the United States and show how the struggles such families face shaping their values. It successfully communicated the play’s theme because exploring culture and challenges through personal stories is effective. The production and play were good because the actors’ moods and characters were relevant to the subject and performed in a powerfully emotional manner.

The actors created believable characterizations because of their tones, usage of English and Spanish languages, and performing emotionally while telling their stories. They changed voices, moved, and showed various gestures so professionally that although only one person was at a setting at a time, the play still was highly engaging. For example, a schoolboy describing his family used various tones, two languages and made me feel sorry for his tough life.

To me, the most convincing play was Manny the Fanny, a Latino streetwalker standing next to a club in a suburb. The character was portrayed in various details like frequent tone changes, rapid movements, and low-level jokes. The least convincing to me was a theatre student because the actor’s personality intervened in a character’s portrayal even though his gestures and voice changes were expressive. Playing with accents was difficult, and as a director, I would emphasize only the appearance necessary to play Englishmen. The actors clearly communicated the idea through performance, and each could tailor the message of Latino immigrant’s life difficulties.

My response to the acting was not solely intellectual because watching a person telling you a story looking in your eyes cannot leave you emotionless. I could not separate actors from their characters, and I did not want to do it. Although the people were separated by the acts, the characters were united by the culture they were supposed to share. Regardless of their real belonging to Latino immigrants, they created a believable world of the play. Their accents, frequent usage of Spanish, emotional gestures, and locations were appropriate to the time described in the plot.

The production considered essential details such as set design and costumes to separate characters and tell more about them. For instance, Gladyz from a laundry dressed in a hyperbolic manner revealed how Latino women are perceived in the United States. The technical details such as lighting, sounds, and camera frame were crucial for the play as they made it believable and entertaining. Indeed, different lights for each set were critical to helping the audience keep watching and not feel tired. The traditional Latina music theme played between the stories was a funny addition and created the appropriate atmosphere. The camera and various frame angles shared the characters’ moods and made the play visually appealing.

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StudyCorgi. "“From the Works of John Leguizamo East Coast to East Los”: Play Critique." October 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/from-the-works-of-john-leguizamo-east-coast-to-east-los-play-critique/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“From the Works of John Leguizamo East Coast to East Los”: Play Critique." October 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/from-the-works-of-john-leguizamo-east-coast-to-east-los-play-critique/.

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